Friday, April 28, 2017

Snow White , 80 Years Old

At the end of this year Disney's first animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be 80 years old. This movie manages to stay relevant as a personal statement by Walt Disney and his artists.
As the look and feel of animated features has changed, Snow White keeps glowing as a reminder that there is such a thing as the ART of animation.
When you do something so well, so wholeheartedly without compromise, then that piece of work is for the ages.

There are very few people who worked on this film that are still with us: Scene planner Ruthie Thompson, animator Don Lusk and live action reference model Marge Champion. I feel lucky to have met them all and even discussed their contribution to the film.
This is Marge in full costume, getting ready to act out scenes for the animators. I love the black contours which help tracking her movements on film.

This cel set up might show its age with all those wrinkles, but as a piece of art it still looks astonishing!


A rare photostat of the Queen. I've always wondered how animator Art Babbit ended up with this assignment, since he had been known for very cartoony work like animating the character of Goofy.
But he sure pulled it off, this queen is beautiful and ruthless at the same time.

A lot of the muted color palette for the film was inspired by designer Gustaf Tenggren.


  1. Very beautiful Andreas, i like all the Disney Classic but Moana, Hercules and the Hunchback of Notre Dame I don't like it, its too much culture so I think Snow White and the seven dwarfs 1937 to Frozen 2013 is the best Disney films in history.

  2. I believe Art Babbitt got his assignment on the Queen because of all the women he knew, according to my favourite book Walt Disney and Europe. I've always wondered who this live-action model is, if I even can get her name for my essay on Snow White. The art book Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: An Art in its Making (1994) has the exact same photo, but doesn't even mention who she is

  3. I hadn't seen some of those Gustaf Tenggren paintings before, thanks! It's reassuring that people still care about the film after all this time. It's amazing to see the film as an animator, and watch them invent feature animation as they go.
    Although I think they REALLY nailed it on the next few films.

    1. It depends what the story it's going to be, riding a script for the story it's not easy just like wen Walt Disney failed the problem of products are in the 19 40s and 1950s The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, The Snow Queen, Beauty and the Beast are this concepts are beautiful but thay put it in the shelves for later discovered.

  4. So I was looking at animator drafts for Snow White, and some scenes with the animals or the dwarfs always kept saying that Snow White was off screen on the draft, when they show her dress or her hand, why is that? There's a scene that Eric Larson did (I'm a fan of his work), where the bird is tweeting and the bird is on Snow White's hand, on the draft, it says the hand's off screen, when you watch the movie, the hand moves.

    1. But still, the movie holds up. It's a great movie.

  5. I just received Christopher Finch's book Walt Disney's America, and it has some artwork of Snow White crawling through tree roots that look like hands. I would like to see more concept art of the forest scene, even if it makes me... No, I can't say it in public

  6. I understand that you're talking about his previous work being more cartoon, but Art Babbitt work is freaking amazing on choices, for me he was advanced in time compared to other colleagues and he well deserved any character.

    Really sad that he was fired when he was so "young", same feeling with Bill Tytla, they had so much to offer to animation...

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  8. Hi Andreas! Snow White IS the ART of animation and magic of cinema, no doubt. I'm in love with this picture since I saw it for the first time during the Christmas holidays of 1972.